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General information
Common nameAfghanistan
Local nameجمهوری اسلامی افغانستان
Jomhūrī-ye Eslāmī-ye Afġānistān
د افغانستان اسلامي جمهوریت
Da Afġānistān Islāmī Jomhoriyat
Nameجمهوری اسلامی افغانستان
Jomhūrī-ye Eslāmī-ye Afġānistān
د افغانستان اسلامي جمهوریت
Da Afġānistān Islāmī Jomhoriyat
AnthemAfghan National Anthem
Largest citycapital
Official languagesPersian (Dari)
GovernmentIslamic republic
PresidentHamid Karzai
Vice PresidentMohammed Fahim
Vice PresidentKarim Khalili
Chief JusticeAbdul Salam Azimi
First Afghan stateOctober 1747
Independence (from United Kingdom)August 19, 1919
Total Area251772 sq mi (652089.5 km2) (41st)
Water %negligible
Population Est.28,395,716 (42nd)
Population census15.5 million (1979)
Density (pop.)43.2/km2 (150th) (111.8/sq mi)
GDP PPP$27.443 billion (2010)
GDP (PPP) per capita$909
GDP (nominal)$15.541 billion (2010)
GDP (nominal) per capita$515
Other information
Gini29 (2008) (low)
HDI0.352 (2007) (low) (181st)
CurrencyAfghani (AFN)
Time zoneD† (UTC+4:30)
Drives on theright
Calling code+93

     Home | Country | Afghanistan

Afghanistan c-enaudio=En-us-Afghanistan.oggæfˈɡænɨstæn (Persian/Pashto: , Afġānistān), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country in South and Central Asia. With a population of about 28 million, it has an area of 647,500 km2, making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world. It is bordered by Pakistan in the southeast, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast. The territory that now forms Afghanistan has been an ancient focal point of the Silk Road and human migration. Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation from as far back as 50,000 BC. Urban civilization may have begun in the area as early as 3,000 to 2,000 BC.

The country sits at an important geostrategic location that connects the Middle East with Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, which has been home to various peoples through the ages. The land has witnessed many military conquests since antiquity, notably by Alexander the Great, Chandragupta Maurya, and Genghis Khan. It has also served as a source from which local dynasties such as the Greco-Bactrians, Kushans, Saffarids, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Timurids, Mughals and many others have established empires of their own.

The political history of modern Afghanistan begins in 1709 with the rise of the Pashtuns, when the Hotaki dynasty was established in Kandahar followed by Ahmad Shah Durrani's rise to power in 1747. The capital of Afghanistan was shifted in 1776 from Kandahar to Kabul and part of the Afghan Empire was ceded to neighboring empires by 1893. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the "Great Game" between the British and Russian empires. On August 19, 1919, following the third Anglo-Afghan war and the signing of the Treaty of Rawalpindi, the nation regained control over its foreign policy from the British.

After the 1978 Marxist revolution, the Soviet Union began a 10 year war in which over a million Afghans lost lives. This was followed by the Afghan civil war (1992 � 1996), the rise and fall of the extremist Taliban government and the 2001-present war. In December 2001, the United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to help maintain security in Afghanistan and assist the Karzai administration. While NATO and other countries are rebuilding war-torn Afghanistan, terrorist groups such as the Haqqani network with alleged support and guidance from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy network are actively involved in a nationwide Taliban-led insurgency, which includes countless assassinations and suicide attacks. According to the United Nations, the insurgents were responsible for 75% of civilian casualties in 2010 and 80% in 2011.

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